Long tropical boat storage - points to consider - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 05-02-2007
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Long tropical boat storage - points to consider

I now have to store my boat for about 6 months on the hard in a "hurricane hole" (which just means the keel is at and below ground level) and wanted to make sure I have the major points covered
  • Main sail - It is in-mast furling and there is a sunbrella. Can I leave it in the mast? (The Genoa and Bimini are going down and stored inside the boat today)
  • Boom - I am planning on lowering it to the deck and lashing it. It isn't much work but is it necessary?
  • Diesel - fill up tank to brim
  • 3 Fresh water tanks - do I leave them full or dry?
  • Outboard fuel - do I give it away or will it keep?
  • Diesel/Genset/Air Conditioning - have a local shop pickle these with freshwater.

I will have a local company check up on the boat occasionally and so far all I can think of having them do is recharge the batteries. What else do people here think needs to be done in order to ensure minimal degradation?
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Old 05-02-2007
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Consider some form of damp-proofing for the cabins. What works for us while sealed up for months off season, is to buy some calcium chloride, or the 5.25 lb refill size of DampRid, and mix with a 5lb bag of cat litter. Proportion equally into 3 to 4 open plastic containers (shoebox size) and distribute them throughout the boat interior.

The calcium chloride collects excess moisture in the air while the cat litter absorbs it. We've never had a mildew problem with this technique.
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Old 05-02-2007
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Leaving the sail in the mast heightens the center of gravity. If it were up to me, I'd drop the mainsail and store it below.
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Old 05-02-2007
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Pickle the diesel fuel, add stabilizers to it for long term storage and leave the tanks full. Check the vents for the fuel and water systems (and engine compartment) and add screens if necessary, to keep bugs from nesting in.

Anything you can do to lower the center of gravity (like moving the sail and perhaps the boom as well) below into the cabin, is a good idea. Anything that can be "unscrewed" and stolen from the deck, would also be better off below.

Someone local should be able to get on board and check for water in the boat (i.e. from heavy storms) from time to time if possible. Anything you can do to keep the interior DRY is important, if there is power a couple of dehumidifier rods (aka "Golden Rods") are a good supplement to the "Dri Rid" type buckets.

And the last thing I would do, is scatter a large box of mothballs or camphor down below. They sublimate and leave a thin protective coating over things which prevents rust. They also discourage bugs and critters very effectively. One warning--the vapors can build up, so when you come back, ventilate the cabin before you go down below. On the bright side, those vapors could also trap and kill any burglars over the layup, too.
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Old 05-02-2007
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  • Zan...I assume you are "burying" her on Virgin Gorda....thoughts...
  • Main sail - It is in-mast furling and there is a sunbrella. Can I leave it in the mast? (The Genoa and Bimini are going down and stored inside the boat today) Sounds fine to me for the sail itself but you will degrade your boom cover a bit in the summer sun there.
  • Boom - I am planning on lowering it to the deck and lashing it. It isn't much work but is it necessary? Good idea..I would say absolutely necessary given the possibility of TS's & Canes
  • Diesel - fill up tank to brim Yes...and add stabilizer/algaecide
  • 3 Fresh water tanks - do I leave them full or dry? Fill em & add a bit more bleach than usual and run all faucets till you smell the bleach in the water.
  • Outboard fuel - do I give it away or will it keep? Just add stabilizer
  • Diesel/Genset/Air Conditioning - have a local shop pickle these with freshwater.Good idea...do the same with your HEAD intakes and use some head lube to keep things soft.
Also...tie off all halyards to shrouds or life lines so they don't clatter and wear. Cover (or stow out of sunlight)dinghy. If on deck...tie it down as if for sea. Put bug/roach traps around inside of boat and remove all food that is not in cans/jars.
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I'm not sure I'd like to leave "more" chlorinated water in tanks for a long time, given the way chlorine can eat into things. Wouldn't it be safer to shock them, then drain them out, toss in some cheap vodka, and let the alcohol fumes work to help keep it clean and dry in there? Save the chlorine shock for the re-commissioning?
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Old 05-02-2007
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TrueBlue - thanks for that; I have those vacuum-seal bags into which all cloth material is going (the sealed bags you attach a vacuum cleaner to in order to reduce space) and have a number of Pelican cases with silica gel for all the portable electronics and papers and other stuff. I'll see if I can find calcium chloride but doubt that I will locate any kitty litter here on Virgin Gorda. I wonder if I should stock up on anti-vermin stuff and leave it on the boat? All of my non-dried food is going onto the dock, which means it shouldn't last more than an hour before it vanishes.

I know they have camphor at the local store (I smelled it) so I'll do that as well.
I just spent almost 2 hours getting the genoa down, carried to a flat surface, flaked, folded and stored - much to the amusement of the 30 or so spectators on charter boats in the marina, none of whom offered any support. I'm not full of enough energy to do the same to the main right now. Perhaps tomorrow.

I just thought of another question - should I run the dinghy engine "dry" of fuel in the water before storing it on the rear pulpit mounting?
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"should I run the dinghy engine "dry" of fuel "
Absolutely! Then do a fresh water flush on the outboard, as well. I'd also move that down into the boat, either in the cabin or a lazarette. If you have some spare poly sheeting, wrap it up (so nothing can spill or leak, etc.) and again, add mothballs inside the wrapping.
The USN really *does* use blocks of the stuff when they "mothball" ships.
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Zan, if you want to have an outboard when you get back I would suggest you store it below as well.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz
Zan, if you want to have an outboard when you get back I would suggest you store it below as well.
I really did get a chuckle from that one I was going use a light chain and lock on the outboard but your point is well taken.

I have a company who will freshwater pickle the salt-water-laden systems and will also check my batteries and bilges monthly. I'm doing an oil change on both the genset and diesel and they've told me that I don't need to top off the last gallons on the diesel tank sinced the temperature variation here isn't enough to cause condensations and water in the tank. I'm going to find a person to donate my 2-stroke fuel to - it is just a bit of money and the risk of the fuel turning to lacquer isn't worth it.

I've taken the advice and stored the mainsail - it was a LOT less work than the genoa and probably only took 30 minutes to lower, carry to a field and carefully flake and store. The only downside is that here in the marina the light groundswell is causing the roller mechanism to bang onto the mast, but that is only going to be for one more night in any case

Boric acid is available at the pharmacy (and I have some condensed milk) and I can get mothballs at the store as well as a goodly supply of roach motels.

I've put some bleach in all the water tanks and have topped them off and I think that I've pretty much got everything taken care of, thanks to advice from this forum. The dinghy is going up on deck tomorrow, the outboard belowdecks and I might have time to get one last set of dives done before continuing on to where I can see the southern cross!
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